“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
~ Anais Nin
“I am particularly lucid this morning and this is a welcome change from what things have been like. Lately, all I’ve been is tired; all I feel is confused. They tell me less and less, time moves in clumps and then rushes ahead at its own free will. For all the control I’m losing over my own self, today feels like it is going to be different.
And for once, the schedules, the doctors and the medicines make sense. They are here to help me; I am here to get better.
One day I can put all this behind me and be free.”
- - Journal entry.
She opened her eyes in the dark, adjusting her eyes to the white of her curtains billowing slightly to the wind. Through the open window, she could smell the rain and wet soil. Everyone else would hear the steady hiss of the downpour, but her world was silent, eerily so. She stared out at sheets of water pouring outside her window, a white haze, then padded silently across the balcony, peering over the side-rail down at the drops falling to the ground. She fell too. The result was a three inch scar that made people gasp for years to come.
She was eleven. She had a room with yellow wallpaper and sketches pinned to her walls, a desk with color pencils and a very confused mind that lost track of time sometimes.
Sixteen years into the future, she sat in a little pool of morning sunlight, isolated, writing.
“I look back at the angry scrawls on the previous pages and if it’s me who’d written all that, that was some part of me I do not know. It’s scary and even more so when all they give you are technical words you cannot hear or speak out aloud and much less understand.”
Sunlight streamed through glass panes onto the floor. A part of it illuminated gaudy floral prints on a couch in the corner. The room had an air of a place rarely inhabited; it smelt old, musty almost. Dust coated bits of her life lay randomly across the space of the room. Framed canvases were stacked up against the wall, some sprawled on the floor.
She lay a little way off from the couch, needles and glasses in front of her. There were voices in her head and they got louder by the second as the magic coursed through her veins. And then there were pictures too, and they moved. She finally had company. That was when she first met him.
“I miss my colors, I miss creating. I miss having you around. They tell me I cannot speak. I wish you could tell them about the conversations we had.”
A kitschy artist, he called her, as a joke. Why indeed, she hardly sold anything she made. He teased her, saying she’d run them dry. She loved his laughter, a strange neighing sound that had been made fun of very often. She loved how he loved her, scars and all, even the invisible ones. They were good and when they were together, she could speak, she could hear; they could make music together.
It’d rained the night he’d stormed out. She still hated the rain and the way the drops fell to the ground and made her want to follow them. He yelled at her but she didn’t listen or even bother to turn to look at him. He stood there, flickering and grainy as she wove in and out of delirium; she turned her back to him and wondered for one sane moment, if he was real. He slammed the door shut then, jolting her and walked out into the sloppy, roaring world outside.
There were flowers on the creeper around the porch, wet in the rain, she imagined. She painted them in her mind, crimson and thick and shiny, entwined with her fingers. She slathered on paint amidst wreaths of smoke, until the voices in her head took over and when she woke up, he was gone forever. And she was found on the floor and taken away by people who believed they could make her better.
“You’re gone and so they tell me that you weren’t for real. And that I cannot speak. They write me notes and make little signs with their hands. As if I cannot hear them. But I could hear you so well.
It was either not you or it isn’t me. It’s difficult to know which was for real.”
She sat by her steel desk and looked out at the gray wall opposite. A singular wail rang through, distantly, down the corridor. Her scarred hands were cold and still. She wasn’t even aware of who she was anymore. This was what it was like, by gaining him, she’d lost every bit of what she had been and what she had. It would be too much, trying to integrate herself once more, almost impossible.
And so, in the beginning of the day, before daily sounds and med calls and people she was supposed to be good to, punctured the blank, spotted canvas that her life was; before the world rolled on once again; before dawn even set in, she hung herself, all of her selves.